One of the most popular Bible stories, perhaps the one we’re all taught first, is the Creation story. God created the universe, the world, and all the beings in it in seven glorious days. Among those that the Almighty created was humankind, in the form of Adam first and Eve next. Why did God create man first? Is there a deeper meaning behind the order in which humanity was created? If this is a question you had in mind, let us explore all the possibilities below.
The Creation of Man
Let us start at the beginning.
In the book of Genesis, God created humankind in His image (Gen. 2:7). God made humanity differently from how he made the physical, tangible world.
“…then the LORD God formed the man* out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Reading Genesis 1, you’ll learn that God spoke the universe into creation. In contrast, God created humans in Genesis 2 using a radically different method: breath.
The Hebrew word for “breath” may also mean “Spirit” in certain contexts. When God makes humankind, he does more than just speak life into existence; he also forms the creature’s physiological elements and gives the being the life-giving breath. Everything God did is done with purpose.
When God created humankind, He gave that person a piece of His divine spirit, setting them different from animals and the remainder of Divine creation, which likewise comes into existence as a product of God’s spoken words.
Why Did God Create Man First?
The creation of Adam is detailed in Genesis 2, with a possible hint that Eve was made at a later date. There must have been a good reason in God’s mind not to create them simultaneously.
Although the passage does not explicitly state why God waited to create Eve, it does strongly insinuate a cause:
“So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” (Genesis 2:20)
All creatures shared ecosystems with others of their kind. The opposite was true of Adam. God clearly intended for Adam to realize he was lonely before making Eve for him. For the satisfaction to really meet Adam’s needs, it was essential for him to be aware of the void that it left in his life.
Eve was the remedy to Adam’s loneliness. She was dubbed Adam’s “helper” since she was there to provide a hand while also being someone he could depend on. The fact that God used a piece of Adam’s body to create Eve served as a powerful symbol of their inseparability and the notion that they formed from “one flesh.”
This characteristic of human society or friendship would be less striking if Adam and Eve had been made around the same moment. Since God created Adam and Eve at different periods, it’s clear that they were meant to be together. That God chose to describe man’s life of isolation as “not good” speaks volumes about the importance God places on community and how much we need it.
Intriguingly, neither Adam nor Eve is portrayed as superior to one another in Genesis’s narrative of their origins. Instead, they are portrayed as interconnected, mutually supporting aspects of God’s “good” creation. The two humans—Adam and Eve—were made by God to complement one another.
Who is Adam and Who is Eve?
Adam serves as both the identity of the first person and a generic noun for all humans. This name was bestowed to Adam and Eve by God Himself (Gen 5:1-2). The Hebrew word for “man,” adam, is rooted in the color red, which may have been chosen to symbolize the earth from whence he was created.
Adam’s body was sculpted from the dirt (Gen 2:7). There is no mistaking the play on words between “Adam” and “adama“, which means ground. There is no mention of the location from whence the dust was gathered, but it is crucial that Adam be seen as a symbol for humanity as a whole rather than just one specific ethnic group. Ministers and scholars of religion agreed that it must have originated globally, making exclusive claims impossible.
The term “formed” conjures up images of a potter painstakingly crafting a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. God infused life-giving air into this vessel made of earth (Gen 2:7). These words provide us with a clear picture of the special relationship that exists between God and human beings that cannot be found between any other species.
Although Adam was created at a level just below that of the angels (or God), he was still “crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). He was given the task of vassal ruler over the world by God. The next verse hints at a sovereign role over nature with the use of the phrases “subdue, rule”:
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” (Genesis 1:28)
The very first lady in the Bible is called Eve. Genesis 1:21-22 relates the story of how Eve came to be:
“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”
It’s possible that the story’s primary purpose is to teach us about the unity of nature and origin that serves as the cornerstone of the union involving a man and a woman. Down the line, Eve was misled by the serpent into breaking the one law God gave to both her and Adam. The Bible ends its story of Eve with the arrival of Seth.
A Cultural Take on the Order of Mankind’s Creation
The writers of Genesis were clearly creative, but they used their creativity to explain why their civilization functioned the way it did. This kind of narrative is termed an “etiology,” or a narrative of how something came to be the way it is now.
Why did Adam come first? The culture of ancient Israel was strongly patriarchal. Genesis, and subsequent works like Exodus, which includes the Decalogue, are written by a male writer for a masculine readership. Several passages, like “you shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife,” read as though they were penned by men, for men. This is not an effort to update the tale to reflect contemporary values; rather, it serves to identify the previous target demographic for these works.
It’s also worth noting that the Hebrew word for man is “ish,” which is fascinating if we’re going to go into the subtleties of gendered pronouns. The feminine pronoun in Hebrew is “ishah.” Since the Hebrew term for “woman” derives from “man,” it stands to reason that the wordsmithing would have been significant in a culture trying to justify the fealty of wives to their spouses.
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